going back to my roots again


Today's post is going to be a bit more personal but I just feel the need to write it down while the realization and the feeling are still fresh, and if you are reading this, it means that I also find it shareable.

It has been about three weeks since I started as a substitute teacher at my old school. This school also happens to be two minutes away from my home, I live at teachers' quarters because my mother is a teacher here. So basically, this area has been my home for over 20 years; I lived here since 2002. Being a substitute teacher here is convenient, not just because it's literally my home but also because I've known the people in this school for my whole life. It should feel homey, it should feel comfortable, isn't it?

Not for me. I don't thrive in familiarity. To be honest, being cooped up in the same place over and over again makes me feel sort of claustrophobic. As much as I love this place, I feel more at home a hundred kilometres away, which doesn't make sense even to me.

So if you ask me how it feels being a substitute teacher at my old school, I'll say it feels weird, it's over-comfortable that it becomes the opposite of it, and I can't wait to finish, at least until like an hour ago.

Being here again also means I'm having a similar routine as the students, exposed to a similar environment, only from a different point of view, but a similar experience all the same. I forgot to mention that this is a religious secondary school (SMKA). And I haven't been having this kind of routine since 2017, so when I started having it again, everything came rushing back to me. 

First came nostalgia. As I observed and interacted with these kids, I realized how naive I was back then, and how I was also one of these kids just six years ago. And I both hate and love nostalgia. While it brings a certain kind of sweetness; reminiscing about my teen years, it also brings a certain kind of sadness; thinking about how far I am from my friends as well as my past selves. 

After a few weeks, I'm starting to feel a certain kind of pull that I only just now recognized. 6 years away from this place has somehow diluted the values that have been imbued in my soul and I realized that these values have slowly come back to me. While I have grown apart from my roots for the past few years, and apart from Him for the past couple of months, being in this place again is His way of pulling me back to Him and the version of me that I so very love.

This realization also brings another kind of realization; that just because you don't want to do something, or be somewhere, it doesn't mean that they don't bring good to you. And while I wasn't being pessimistic at all about being here again, I wasn't expecting this kind of goodness. And I'm grateful, oh so grateful for this, Alhamdulillah. A certain Quranic verse came to mind as I was writing this:

“So, undoubtedly, along with the hardship, there is ease. Surely with (that) hardship comes (more) ease.
[Quran, 94: 5-6]

Now, all Quranic verses have many different interpretations, and every person might relate to every verse differently at different points in their lives. For now, I just think that despite how weird, uncomfortable or hard it is being here, there is goodness that I gain from it. And for that, I'm grateful, Alhamdulillah. And I wish and pray for people that are reading this to also be able to see the goodness in every hardship you experience, May Allah ease everything for us all, aamiin.

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